Letter: All Tribes DC National Day of Prayer and The Apology Now Project
I have recently returned from the All Tribes DC National Day of Prayer. It is a day of prayer put on by a group of Native American people to pray for Native American people and communities and for the country. It is also a day this group of Native Americans from different tribes have decided to speak out forgiveness for the government and the country for the many things done against Native American people over the years. Pretty powerful, and there is a wonderful forgiveness prayer that is read every year, which can be found at AllTribesDC.org/voices.
Things they are speaking out forgiveness for include the breaking of treaties between the U.S. government and various tribes, 300-plus (treaty law is legally meant to be federal law), the many boarding schools that ripped Native American children from their homes and forced assimilation upon them and various ways of trying to stamp out their languages.
The reasoning behind the boarding schools was to, as said by Capt. Richard H. Pratt, founder of the Carlisle boarding school for Native children, “kill the Indian and save the man.” If someone came to us and said you must leave behind your ski culture or your bike culture in order to survive in the new world and furthermore just to be human in our eyes, in today’s culture, we would clearly consider this illogical and furthermore inhumane.
The All Tribes DC Day of Prayer has occurred six years in a row now. This year, the group also made room for a time of sharing on the current Apology Now Project. During former President Barack Obama’s term, then-Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, with the help of Negiel Bigpond and some other Native American leaders, crafted an apology law. It passed through the House and Senate and was signed into law. However, it has not been made public or read publicly.
Within the field of reconciliation, the saying is that “it takes one to forgive but two to reconcile,” and people realize that each person or group can choose to forgive and so free themselves of unforgiveness and bitterness, but for the healing of the land to occur, both forgiveness and apology/repentance are needed.
At this year’s All Tribes DC, the group shared steps in moving forward concerning The Apology Now Project. For more information, please see TheApologyNow.com.
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